The Rat, the Eggs, and the Cardigan

So once more, the good and generous rat crept through the house, wearing the cardigan with the weeble in the hood, meaning to leave the weeble and return the cardigan to the doll. Again he looked through the gap in the fireplace, and realised that he had forgotten about the little girl, who was sitting on the floor playing, passing something from hand to hand, just as she had done before. The rat shrank back behind the fireplace into safety. But in that single brief glance, he could see that it was a shiny object. Surely it could not be another egg? He risked another brief glance and saw very plainly that it was. The little girl was passing it from hand to hand, babbling her little song, and occasionally putting a tiny bobble hat on its head and taking it off again. And the egg had no obvious facial features, but sparkled all over like the stars in the skylight that rat and the egg loved so much. “Surely this is a good sign,” said the rat to himself. Again, he waited for his opportunity, glad to rest quietly in the dark. Again, the lady came into the room and lifted up the little girl, kissed her, tucked her into bed, and read her a story, then sat quietly until the only sound in the room was the gentle breathing of the little girl. Then she switched on the night light and went away.

The rat crept out from the shadows, took off the cardigan, freed the weeble, and put him on the floor, ignoring the weeble’s song, which was beginning to annoy him.

He crept up to the glittery egg.

“Hello,” he said awkwardly.

“Hello,” said the glittery egg. “How are you?”

The rat was taken aback by this unexpected question. “Well,” he began.

“Yes,” said the glittery egg, gently.

Something about the egg loosened the rat’s tongue and before he knew what had happened he had told the egg everything: about his friend the egg, and how he was sad, and the weeble, and the doll, and the cardigan, and the little girl, and the long climb to the loft, and how he had promised and how he must try. It had been a long, tiring day, so the story did not make much sense, but the egg seemed to understand.

“I think you should take me up to the loft,” said the glittery egg. “I would like to meet your friend. But don’t forget my hat. I like that hat.”

So yet again, the weary rat put on the cardigan, and made the long climb to the loft. He was very tired by now, but this time the glittery egg was there to encourage him.

“I have never heard of anything as ingenious as the cardigan idea,” she said, “It is so clever. I wonder how you thought of it.”

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